Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Check out the book on Goodreads.

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.

I’m so glad that Book of the Month introduced me to this great book! I probably would never have picked it up on my own – and I’m so glad that I did!

Gods of Jade and Shadow reads like a myth in the best way – introducing the reader to a timeless story full of mini parables and insights. I loved that this book read like a living myth. I can see how the writing style is not for everyone – like many myths it can seem a little disjointed at times, however this just added to the story for me.

Although this book is marketed as a 1920’s Mexican Cinderella, I feel that the overall story is timeless. Learning about some Mayan mythology was very interesting as they aren’t stories that I have lots of exposure to.

The main character, Cassiopeia went through a lot of growth throughout the story and it was so wonderful seeing her evolve and change. She can be a little dry at times but neither one of the characters got on my nerves which is something I can’t say about a lot of books I’ve been reading lately. Hun Kame of course helped her along her journey, and he was just the type of brooding hunky guy that gets my heart racing.

Overall a very enjoyable book, possibly one of my favorites of the year!

Rating: 5/5

Review: Nevernight

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff26114463

Published: August 9, 2016 by St. Martin’s Press

Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1

Rating:★★★★★ (5 Stars)

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In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

It took me so long to finish Nevernight, in part because I didn’t like to read it before bed due to the mindset necessary for this marvelously bloody book.

This is 100% an adult book, no matter the age of the main character. There is lots of murder and blood and sex, which contribute to a delicious and addicting story. I am a sucker for a good assassin story, and this book definitely delivers. Mia is a girl driven to violence based on vengeance. She is perfectly vicious with a merciful twist that makes her all the more interesting. One of my other favorite characters was Tric, who I thought was such a strong character with a story that had my heart aching.

I absolutely adored the narrative style. It’s written in third person, as a narrator tells the reader the story in a meandering prose that was absolutely enchanting. The use of footnotes to expand upon the history of the world was so inventive and made me feel as if I was a part of the world. So many areas were fleshed out and explained, with mini stories about famous historical figures and events happening in Godsgrave. I felt that the world in this book was more developed than some series I’ve read because of the mini asides.  It was a bit slow during the center with the training descriptions, but the beginning and the end were absolutely marvelous (especially the last 100 pages!).  I can’t wait to sink into Godsgrave—hopefully soon even though I have so many other books to read!

Review: The Crystal Shard

The Crystal Shard by R. A. Salvatore1261150

Series: The Icewind Dale Trilogy #1; Legend of Drizzt #4

Published: January 1, 1988

Rating: 3.5/5

Drizzt Do’Urden has settled in the windswept towns of Icewind Dale. There, he encounters a young barbarian named Wulfgar, captured in a raid and made the ward of a grizzled dwarf named Bruenor. With Drizzt’s help, Wulfgar will grow from a feral child to a man with the heart of a dwarf, the instincts of a savage, and the soul of a hero. But it will take even more than that to defeat the demonic power of Crenshinibon, the fabled Crystal Shard.

It kills me to not read a series in order but my friend highly recommended that I read these in the order they were published for whatever reason, and I decided to trust him. This was the first book I’ve read by Salvatore, and also the first work that he published. There are many aspects of this book that remind me of what I consider to be fantasy in the late 80’s, with a lot of complicated names and Lord of the Rings-esque references/characters.

While this was originally published as the first of a series, it truly does read like a fourth book with a lot of characters and vague backstory dumps. This may be due to the fact that apparently this entire book was written based on a Dungeons and Dragons campaign the author completed with his friends.

The storyline and characters were interesting enough to encourage me to finish; however, everything in it seemed very tropey and similar to so many other things. Again, in the 1980’s and the years before fantasy and fantasy films became really popularized I’m sure this book was a revolution in it’s own right (heck, this was published 8 years before A Song of Ice and Fire).

A lot of the parts felt like an RPG videogame, which I enjoyed. The main character, Drizzt, was a misunderstood and often-hated dark elf which is always the character I pick in RPG situations. Wulfgar the human, Regis the hobbit halfling, and Gimli Bruenor the dwarf contribute to this mighty gang and are a force I’m interested in following through their adventures.

While I will continue this series, I’m in no rush to do so with all the other amazing fantasy series I need to start. Have you read anything by Salvatore, and if so what were your thoughts?

A Darker Shade of Magic

22055262A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Series A Darker Shade of Magic #1

Published February 24, 2015

Rating 5/5

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Kell is one of the last Antarimagicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in ArnesRed Londonand officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book! I actually recommended this series to two people I knew would enjoy it, and they ended up reading all three books before I picked the first one up myself! The world of the four Londons is enrapturing. Schwab’s exploration of the differences between the planes of existence is seamless and leaves the reader feeling as if they’ve lived in the world for years.

Kell is the perfect morally ambiguous hero, with his straight-laced job and dangerous compulsion to break the rules, which makes him the perfect partner for Lila (or is the partnership supposed to be the other way around?). Lila’s desire for adventures is a lure that pulls at the soul of the reader, urging them to embark on adventures with her. While Kell is my magical ginger baby, Lila is the knife’s edge that draws the attention. I probably love her so much because she reminds me of another one of my favorite characters, Aelin from the Throne of Glass series, with her sassy remarks and take-no-prisoners attitude.

The magic system is unlike any I’ve read about before. The way the different cultures perceive magic was very interesting, and left me with many questions I hope to find answers to in the later books. And I will definitely be reading those soon! I already own the next two thanks to luck at a used bookstore and Bookcon sale 😉 and they’ve rocketed to the top of my TBR pile. Definitely check these books out if you haven’t already! I can’t wait to read all of Schwab’s other books.

Thank you for reading!

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